Penalties for the offence of cultism and why you need a lawyer
Section 62 of the Criminal Code Act defines “Society and unlawful society” thus:
a. A society includes any combination of ten or more persons whether the society be known by any name or not.
b. A society is an unlawful society –
c. If formed for any of the following purposes –
d. Levying war or encouraging or assisting any person to levy war on the Government or the inhabitants of any part of Nigeria; or
e. Killing or injuring or encouraging the killing or injuring of any person; or
f. Destroying or injuring or encouraging the destruction or injuring of any property ;or
g. Subverting or promoting the subversion of the Government or of its officials ;or
h. Committing or inciting to acts of violence or intimidation
i. Interfering with, or resisting, or encouraging interference with or resistance to the administration of the law; or
j. Disturbing or encouraging the disturbance of peace and order in any part of Nigeria; or
k. If declared by an order of the President to be a society dangerous to the good government of Nigeria or of any part thereof
Section 64 of the Criminal Code Act provides that:
Any person who
a. A member of an unlawful society; or
b. Knowingly allows a meeting of an unlawful society, or of members of an unlawful society, to be held in any house ,building, or place belonging to, or occupied by, him or over which he has control is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for three years.
The Penal Code Act which covers the northern Nigeria considers what an unlawful society is in Sections 97A and 97B:
Section 97A defines an unlawful society as follows:
“A society is an unlawful society if declared by an order of the President to be a society dangerous to the good government of the Federation of any part thereof.
Section 97B provides that:
“Whoever manages or is a member of an unlawful society shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years or with a fine or both.”
Thus, while the Criminal Code Act penalizes cultism with 3 years, the Penal Code Act slaps a seven-year jail term on cultism.
When a cultism related activity results in culpable homicide, the culprits will be punished with death as prescribed by Section 319 of the Criminal Code Act.
When cultism results in rape, the law would punish it with life imprisonment under Section 358 of the Criminal Code Act.
When cultism results in stealing, the law would punish it with three years imprisonment under Section 390 of the Criminal Code Act.
When cultism results in stealing with violence which would then be robbery or armed robbery as the circumstances will dictate, the law would either impose a sentence of death for armed robbery and a prison sentence of not less than 14 years for robbery.